- By Arlene Winnick
- Photos Courtesy of CTG/Joan Marcus
Bravo to the Center Theater Group celebrating fifty years of bringing extraordinary theatrical and musical experiences to the people of Los Angeles. To celebrate, the Center Theater Group continues its Golden Anniversary season by offering Los Angeles an incredible holiday gift – Amélie, A New Musical, based on the Academy Award-nominated 2001 film. Starring Phillipa Soo (Tony Award nominee for the hit Broadway show Hamilton) in the title role, Amélie takes audiences on a romantic musical journey through the streets of Paris as seen through the imagination of a young charmingly shy girl as she secretly orchestrates moments of joy for all those around her. After discovering a mysterious and magical photo album and meeting a handsome stranger, Amelie come to realize that helping others may be easier and more fulfilling that pursuing your own romantic dreams and fantasies.
The creative team behind Amelie is first rate as it transforms the stage into a highly original and dreamlike setting that immediately captivates and transports you into a magical world. Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon (Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf) directs the play; with a book by three-time Tony Award nominee Craig Lucas (An American in Paris); and the witty and original music is by Daniel Messe with lyrics by Nathan Tysen carry the narrative along. The very original lighting design plays a pivotal role in the production by creating different settings and moods with various colors and hues.
Los Angeles audiences have a chance to see this enchanting production before the show makes its Broadway premiere in 2017.
Next up for the Center Theater Group and the Ahmanson is another ‘don’t miss’ play, the groundbreaking, uplifting winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical, Fun Home.
Fun Home, based on the popular graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, introduces Alison at three different ages in her life as she explores and unravels the mysteries of her childhood giving her new insight into her parents and the world around her. This is a powerful and contemporary story told through melodically rich songs that speak of yearning, heartache and joy.
In addition to Best Musical, Fun Home also won Tonys for Book, Score and Director of a Musical. Fun Home opens at the Ahmanson Theater on February 22nd and plays through April 1st.
This season CTG brings exciting theater to the intimate Mark Taper Form. Currently running is The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a moving tale of Maureen Folan, a plain and lonely woman in her early 40s, and Mag, her manipulative, aging mother whose interference in Maureen’s potential romantic relationship sets into motion a ‘tragically funny’ chain of events.
Zoot Suit returns to the Mark Taper in January. The play written and directed by Luis Valdez is an iconic work form the theater’s past having run at the Taper in the late 1970’s. Set during the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon Murder in Los Angeles, Zoot Suit explores the clash between generations in a Chicano family and how racism and injustice can haunt a city.
At the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, Center Theatre Group offers their more adventurous new works. Opening in December is The Wholehearted, an unflinching portrait of a female boxer – exploring the line between personal fantasy and hard reality. The American Premier of the powerful Alder and Gibb follows in January. As she prepares for a film role, an actress searches for the real story behind her subject, Janet Adler, a celebrated artist who rejected the art world in favor of making work solely for her lover, Margaret Gibb.
“Amélie” is running December 4th through January 15th, for tickets and all things happening at Center Theatre Group, click here.